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The Abbeville messenger. : (Abbeville, S.C.) 1884-1887
Place of publication:
Abbeville, S.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • Abbeville, Abbeville, South Carolina  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Bonham and Perrin
Dates of publication:
  • Began Oct. 1, 1884; ceased in 1887.
  • English
  • Abbeville County (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • South Carolina--Abbeville County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209948
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 1, 1884).
  • Latest issue consulted: Vol. 3, no. 38 (June 28, 1887).
sn 93067668
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The Abbeville messenger. October 1, 1884 , Image 1


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The Abbeville Messenger

The Abbeville Messenger (1884-87) was one of several short-lived newspapers that arose in Abbeville County, South Carolina, in the late 19th century to challenge the dominance of the leading weekly papers, the Abbeville Press and Banner and Abbeville Medium. The Abbeville Messenger began as the Greenwood Saluda Argus in 1881. Although only a few issues of the Saluda Argus have survived, contemporary sources depict it as a struggling enterprise. In 1884, Milledge Lipscomb Bonham, James Sumter Perrin, and Thomas Perrin Cothran purchased the Saluda Argus and renamed it the Abbeville Messenger. The first issue appeared on October 1, 1884.

Despite receiving accolades from other South Carolina newspapers, including the influential weekly Edgefield Advertiser, the Abbeville Messenger never established a niche among its competitors. In 1885, the American Newspaper Directory recorded only 510 subscribers (that same year, the Abbeville Medium and Abbeville Press and Banner boasted 900 and 816 subscribers, respectively). On January 13, 1887, the Anderson Intelligencer announced that Bonham had turned over his share of responsibilities to Cothran. On July 20, 1887, the Sumter Watchman and Southron reported that the Abbeville Messenger had ceased publication. Its failure was attributed “to the fact that Abbeville County cannot support three good papers at the county seat.”  The latest known surviving issue is dated June 28, 1887.

From a historical perspective, the Abbeville Messenger is particularly interesting given the accomplishments of its proprietors. Prior to moving to Abbeville, Bonham had edited the Ninety-Six Guardian and Newberry News. He served as adjutant and inspector general of South Carolina (1886-91) and an associate justice (1931-40) and chief justice (1940-43) in the South Carolina Supreme Court. Cothran served as a state representative (1905-10, 1915-17), Speaker of the House (1918-21), and an associate justice in the South Carolina Supreme Court (1921-34). Perrin went on to practice law and serve as vice-president of the Citizens Bank and Trust Company in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The Abbeville Messenger may have failed, but for Bonham, Cothran, and Perrin it was merely a minor stumbling block in their careers.

Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC